Sunday, February 13, 2011

not my contribution to the 'shit happens' debate

Last week - I was a bit out of the loop, not reading newspapers but checking a bit of half-understood tv news - Tony Abbott was in the stew over his comment that 'shit happens' in wartime.
I am always happy to see Abbott get stewed and made unhappy, so I enjoyed what I understood of it. But yesterday I just remembered a pathetic conversation overheard in Bermagui in the early morning at a cafe where I stopped around 7.30.
It was one of those conversations where one guy was holding forth and the other was agreeing for the sake of it. This oldish man was going on about how Abbott did not deserve to be roasted over the use of the term shit happens (though really it was the implied cavalier aspect to it that he was being roasted over, but never mind). What bugged me about this fellow was his insistence that 'shit happens' was an old Australian colloquialism.
I first heard the term in 1990. It was specifically introduced to me by a young Australian popstar I was interviewing, she was throwing out a little bit of international trend news, that people in the states now use this term 'shit happens.' It was almost a joke and it was proto-slacker. Bullshit is it an old Australian colloquialism.
If he reads my blog, mate, you're a bullshit artist.


Ann O'Dyne said...

the first time I saw 'shit happens' was on a T-shirt in the US.

re Mr.Rabbit, usually I am happy to see him hoist, but in this case I believe he was comiserating with the commanding officer who had told him that the slain soldier "was well-covered by other troops at the time".
The officer obviously feeling responsible for the death, and rabbit offering the solace "you did everything you could and it was fated despite you". maybe he should have said exactly that.
The Hollowmen covered this situation very well in their episode about recruitment ads, ie "don't mention that a uniform tells the enemy who to shoot at". war=death, and that's why so many of us are appalled by it.
Bermagui breakfast must have been nice.

A. Bleach said...

Richard Lewis coined the expression in October 1983.